It’s no secret that the global dairy industry is facing extremely tough times, manifested in the UK by farmgate prices for milk falling by about a third since the start of 2014.
There are a number of reasons for these changes, but ultimately global supply is outstretching demand. Very often this can be due to reasons that are not to do with consumers tastes; the Russian trade embargo, for example.
But as a nutritionist I’m interested in some of the changes in tastes that are taking place within the home.
More options in supermarket fridges - from soy to coconut milk, to a variety of innovative dairy products - are a great benefit for consumers who value improved choice.
But there are also conflicting stories about what constitutes a healthy diet. Some days dairy is good, and some days bad.
What is clear is that milk is inherently nutritious; so you can’t get much better than a glass of milk. Which is why we’re working to explain to the public that milk is naturally high in calcium, protein and a source of a wide range of vitamins and minerals. It’s also an absolutely crucial source of nutrition for a number of groups including children, pregnant women and athletes.
Organisations like Arla are working hard to turn this situation around through the creation of new and innovative products. Take our Best of Both milk, which is fat-free milk but tastes like semi-skimmed. The technology behind this product took three years to develop and it’s flying off the shelves. Or the recently launched 250ml bottle of Cravendale, which shows milk can be a perfect on-the-go thirst-quencher. Whether it’s longer-lasting, fat-reduced, lactose-free, protein-rich or fortified, there should be something to suit most people’s needs.
I’ll be doing everything I can over the next year to highlight that message to consumers. We want to help reverse the trend and reintroduce a whole new generation to the natural goodness of milk. That would be good news for the nation’s nutrition, and a step towards good news for our farmers.
Lise Larsen is a nutritionist at Arla Foods